GWC Team


Wes Sechrest, Ph.D.


Dr. Sechrest founded Global Wildlife Conservation and serves as Chief Scientist and CEO. He leads GWC’s efforts to explore, document, and protect the world’s most threatened species and habitats. Dr. Sechrest has a background in conservation biology, particularly focused on mammal conservation and priority setting for biodiversity conservation. Dr. Sechrest is a conservation biologist, with a focus on international wildlife conservation. His interests in conservation science vary widely, and include work on threatened species, zoology, protected areas, biodiversity patterns and processes, natural history, environmental science, and the link between academic and applied conservation science.

  • Ph.D. Biology, University of Virginia.
  • B.S. Biology, Wake Forest University.

Don Church, PH.D.


Dr. Don Church works with partners to develop projects aimed at conserving globally threatened species and their habitats. A focus of his work is on identifying priority sites and opportunities for species conservation through the creation of new protected areas, and also developing innovative strategies to address threats beyond habitat loss. Globally declining amphibian populations are a focus, and he previously served as executive director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance, an international partnership of more than 100 organizations, to catalyze conservation for this especially imperiled group of animals. Prior to joining Global Wildlife Conservation, Don led the Biodiversity Division at Conservation International. Don is an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University.


  • Ph.D. Biology, University of Virginia.
  • M.S. Biology, Southeastern Louisiana University.
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Washington.

Field Programs

Barney Long, Ph.D.

Director of Species Conservation

Dr. Barney Long works on the conservation of endangered mammal species and the thematic approaches required to achieve the recovery of their populations. He has worked extensively on Saola, Sumatran and Javan Rhino, Tiger, Gibbons, Doucs and a host of other species across the world. A focus of his work is protected area management effectiveness and the prevention of poaching. Prior to joining Global Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Barney Long led the Species Program at WWF-US.


  • Ph.D., Biodiversity Management, DICE, University of Kent at Canterbury.
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Bristol.

Jim Sanderson, Ph.D.

Program Manager of Wild Cat Conservation

Dr. Jim Sanderson received a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1976. He is the founder and director of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation, a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, a review board member of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, and a fellow of Wildlife Conservation Network.


  • Ph.D., Mathematics, University of New Mexico
  • M.S., Mathematics, University of New Mexico
  • B.S., Mathematics, Lafayette College

Chris Jordan, Ph.D.

Nicaragua Programs Director

Dr. Chris Jordan is the director of GWC’s Nicaragua program and a focal point for GWC in Latin America. He is the coordinator of Proyecto Tapir Nicaragua, a Baird’s tapir research and conservation initiative based in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua; he works through an agreement with Panthera as their Science Supervisor for their Nicaragua Program; and works directly with the Regional Government of the Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua and the Rama and Kriol Territorial Government on forest conservation and protected areas management.


  • Ph.D. Michigan State University, USA Ph.D. Fisheries and Wildlife
  • B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries, University of Massachusetts.
  • B.A. Spanish and Latin American Studies, University of Massachusetts.

Carrie Stengel

Data and Metrics Manager

Carrie Stengel visualizes programatic and species conservation data for a range of purposes and audiences. Connected with visualization is a focus on creating efficient systems of collecting monitoring and evaluation data to determine and track conservation impact. Prior to joining GWC, Carrie was a Data Visualization Specialist at the WWF, working on global tiger conservation. 


  • M.Sc., Primate Conservation, Oxford Brookes University
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado at Boulder

William Robichaud

Saola Conservation Program Coordinator

William Robichaud is GWC’s Saola Conservation Program Coordinator.  He is also the founding Coordinator of the Saola Working Group of the IUCN SSC’s Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group.  He has been working on wildlife conservation and research in Southeast Asia for nearly 25 years. 


  • M.S., Zoology, University of British Columbia.
  • B.S., Zoology, University of Wisconsin.

Mike Appleton

Director of Protected Area Management

Mike focuses on applied, area-based conservation, building on scientific findings to achieve conservation results on the ground. This includes helping governments identify and establish protected areas, creating legal frameworks and systems of governance, developing management strategies and plans, and building the capacity of staff and organisations to meet the complex challenge of being guardians of the world’s growing protected area network.


  • MSc. Protected Landscape Management, University of Greenwich, UK.
  • BSc. Ecology, University of East Anglia, UK.

Applied Biodiversity Science

Penny Langhammer, Ph.D.

Director of Key Biodiversity Areas and Species Assessment

Dr. Penny Langhammer leads the organization’s efforts to identify and promote the conservation of Key Biodiversity Areas. She also oversees the work within GWC to assess species for the IUCN Red List. As co-chair of the IUCN WCPA-SSC Joint Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, Penny led the development of A Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas, for which she received the George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation from the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Penny has a strong interest in amphibian conservation and also serves as Director of Key Biodiversity Areas for the Amphibian Survival Alliance.


  • Ph.D. Biology, Arizona State University.
  • Master of Environmental Management, Duke University.
  • B.S. Psychology, Arizona State University.

Jennifer Luedtke

Manager of IUCN Red List Assessments

Jennifer Luedtke’s current focus is on amphibian conservation. Working closely with the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, she also holds the position of Global Coordinator of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority (ARLA). Along with Kelsey Neam (GWC’s Amphibians Red List Officer) and 22 ARLA Regional Coordinators, she leads the Global Amphibian Assessment—an initiative that seeks to assess the extinction risk of all known species of frog, toad and caecilian. Jennifer is also the facilitator of the IUCN Red List Working Group of the Amphibian Specialist Group.


  • B.S. in Environmental Studies, Wheaton College, Illinois.
  • M.A. in Historical and Systematic Theology from Wheaton College, Illinois.

Kelsey Neam

Amphibians Red List Officer

Kelsey Neam is a conservation scientist and spatial ecologist interested in how loss, fragmentation, and land use change affect species, communities and ecosystems. Kelsey is currently a Programme Officer of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority, where her primary focus is preparing amphibian assessments for publication on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


  • M.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University.
  • B.S. Environmental Science and Policy, University of Maryland.


Robin D. Moore, Ph.D.


Dr. Robin Moore blends his scientific training with his passion for photography and storytelling to connect a broad audience with the urgency and opportunity for saving endangered species. Recognizing the importance of communications for challenging perceptions and changing behaviors, Robin has spearheaded innovative campaigns to raise the profile of too-often overlooked species.


  • Ph.D. Biodiversity Conservation, University of Kent at Canterbury.
  • M. Res., Ecology and Environmental Management, University of York.
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Aberdeen.

Lindsay Renick Mayer

Associate Director of Communications

If you are a reporter/editor/producer, you can reach Lindsay at

Lindsay Renick Mayer helps GWC and partners tell their stories of adventure and conservation action through a number of communications channels, including digital and earned media. Lindsay is passionate about species-based conservation and finding compelling ways to tell stories that demonstrate the value of all of the planet’s critters, big and microscopic.


  • M.A. Journalism, Northwestern University.
  • B.A. Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Reagan Steppe


Reagan Steppe manages the financial operations of GWC, including oversight of investments, cash flow, budgeting, accounting and financial reporting. Reagan began and spent much of her career in finance at Prudential Capital Group before continuing on to manage real estate investments and work in business development both for financial institutions and a technology start-up. Prior to joining GWC, Reagan spent much time in the non-profit world on the volunteer side and is thrilled to now spend her days using her finance expertise connected to a powerful mission: to help improve the health of our planet and humanity.


  • B.B.A., Finance, Southern Methodist University

Sam Reza


Sam Reza is an artist, poet and financial wizard! Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sam has worked for several non-profit organizations focused on conservation and preservation.  She graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a degree in studio art and a minor in art history.  When she is not busy ensuring the financial health of GWC, you can find Sam drawing, writing and exploring the world!


  • B.A., Bachelor of Arts, University of Nevada.

Maria Christina Wurschy

Conservation Officer

Maria Christina Wurschy combines her lifelong passion for our natural world with her penchant for writing to secure foundation and corporate alliances to support Global Wildlife Conservation’s programmatic fieldwork worldwide. A seasoned professional with more than one decade of environmental conservation fundraising experience, her career includes working for respected international conservation nonprofit organizations both domestically and abroad including An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland.


  • B.Sc. Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences and a Minor in English, Texas A&M University.

Kelsie Garretson

Executive Assistant

Kelsie Garretson is the executive assistant in the office. She was born and raised in Round Rock, Texas and graduated from Baylor University. She recently returned from living in Australia for 6 months and traveling around the South Pacific. When she’s not assisting GWC, she loves to run, cook and spend time with her pets.

  • BBA Marketing, Baylor University.

Ana Denman

Operations Assistant

After meeting Wes Sechrest in 2010 and becoming inspired by the mission of the organization, Ana she joined the GWC team in April of 2011 as office manager. She stayed in this position until November 2014 when she took time off to have her daughter. She returned to GWC in the summer of 2016 and has been assisting GWC Financial Manager Sam Reza with operations and other administrative duties. Ana enjoys traveling, bird watching, hiking and all other activities that involve being outdoors.


  • M.L.A Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin.
  • B.L.A Latin American History, University of Texas at Austin.

GWC Associate Conservation Scientists

GWC Associate Conservation Scientists

  • Leeanne Alonso

    Dr. Leeanne E. Alonso, formerly GWC’s director of Global Biodiversity Exploration, has coordinated and led over 45 scientific explorations in 25 countries to document species richness and guide conservation actions.

  • Kurt A. Buhlmann

    Dr. Kurt A. Buhlmann is a conservation ecologist whose research interests include life history and evolutionary ecology with application for conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles.

  • James Burton

    Dr. James Burton has worked in South East Asia and the Middle East with NGOs, governments  and conservation breeding institutions on research and applied conservation activities. James is chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group (since January 2006) and focuses on linking conservation stakeholders through species conservation planning.

  • Kortnie Coles

    Kortnie Coles manages the Campaigns and Outreach programs for GWC. She conducts the organizations efforts to educate, collaborate and coordinate with current and prospective partners. Kortnie has a background working for nonprofit organizations. She has specifically focused on the protection of endangered species, development of sustainable habitats, and community involvement. Her passion for conservation has led her on expeditions across the USA, Mexico, Central America, Australia and Egypt. Kortnie is based in New York City.

  • Armando Dans

    Armando is a Nicaraguan conservationist. His research focuses on the conservation of the megafauna in the last wild places of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Region. For the last 4-5 year he has been collecting field data with Dr. Chris Jordan (GWC/Panthera) and Dr. Gerald Urquhart (Michigan State University), focused on tapir ecology, the Jaguar corridor, and the Tapir/Jaguar human conflicts in the South Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.

  • Ana Liz Flores

    Dr. Ana Liz Flores is an international consultant specializing in local development, natural resources management and climate adaptation. Currently coordinating action research “Including Community Resilience Priorities in the post- HFA Agenda”, for Community Practitioners Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean Huairou Commission-Groots International.

  • Varad Giri

    Dr. Varad Giri mainly works on the conservation of caecilians and lizards of the Western Ghats, India. His work is mainly focused on conducting intensive surveys in less explored areas to understand the diversity, distribution and conservation issues of the species and their habitats.

  • Jackson Helms

    Jackson Helms is a Ph.D. student at the University of Oklahoma. His broad interests focus on landscape-scale biogeography, land use and how humans interact with the natural world. For his research, Jackson examines flight and dispersal ability of ant queens in relation to their ecology and environment.

  • Martha M. Hurley

    ​Dr. Martha M. Hurley is a conservation and wildlife biologist specializing in the biodiversity and biogeography of Mainland Southeast Asia.  Her work to date has included species-level conservation research, multi-taxa biodiversity surveys of under-surveyed regions, the application of biogeography to conservation recommendations, and improving the digital distribution of data, publications, educational materials, and other resources to international conservation workers.

  • Rachunliu (Chun) G. Kamei

    Dr. Rachunliu (Chun) G. Kamei specializes in the amphibians of India, with a special focus on caecilian systematics and biology. She received her master’s degree in botany, before becoming an assistant professor at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi in India, where she taught biology and environmental studies from 2005 until 2010.

  • Thomas E. Lacher, Jr.

    Dr. Thomas E. Lacher, Jr., is full professor in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University. He has been working in the Neotropics for 40 years, with field research experience in Dominica, Costa Rica, Panama, Guyana, Suriname, Peru and Brazil. His current research is focused on the assessment of extinction risk in mammals and the analysis and monitoring of large-scale patterns and trends in mammalian biodiversity.

  • James P. Lewis

    James is currently working at Rainforest Trust, a Global Wildlife Conservation partner organization focused on the creation of new protected areas. Before joining Rainforest Trust, James worked as the director of conservation with GWC and is also the former director of operations for the Amphibian Survival Alliance and a program officer for the ICUN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. These positions bring a range of expertise and project partnership experience to the GWC associates program helping to drive forward amphibian conservation priorities across the globe.

  • Brian O’Shea

    Dr. Brian O’Shea is an ornithologist with broad interests in the ecology and conservation of birds, with emphasis on the Guiana Shield of northeastern South America.  His research interests include the distribution, community dynamics, and spatial ecology of birds in lowland rainforest and coastal secondary forests.  His current projects focus on training young biologists in Guyana and Suriname, using bird banding and sound recording as tools to stimulate interest in birds and nature while generating data to enhance conservation efforts.  Brian has participated in many survey expeditions to remote localities in the Guianas and western Amazonia, generating a wealth of information on avian distributions.  

  • Stephen Richards

    Stephen Richards works with local NGOs throughout the Melanesian region to assess biodiversity in poorly-known regions and to provide training opportunities for local university students and young biologists. Stephen’s research background is in amphibian ecology, conservation and systematics and this group of vertebrates, along with the jewels of the insect world, the dragonflies and damselflies, remain a large focus of his work.

  • Nikki Roach

    Nikki Roach is a PhD student at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on conservation biology, planning, and policy, specifically how land use and climate change impact threatened species. She has experience working across multiple taxa and ecosystems including wetlands to tropical forests. Her current research couples IUCN Red List data and field-based surveys to assess the vulnerability of amphibians and small mammals to land use and climate change in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Nikki is an active science communicator, follow her on twitter @niksroach and

  • Cody Schank

    Cody is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Geography and the Environment, where he is a Donald D. Harrington Scholar. He has worked with GIS and mapping species distributions for 10 years, including involvement with the Global Mammal Assessment and The Map of Life. Cody has conducted field work in Cambodia, Peru, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. His current research focuses on modeling species distributions to assist decision-making for conservation management in the tropics.

  • Cindy Sechrest

    Cindy works to integrate plant conservation into GWC’s global programs. She has her M.S. in Botany from NC State University, and is especially focused on tropical plant diversity and conservation. Cindy previously worked as Certified Public Accountant and financial planner, and has been instrumental in setting up GWC’s accounting system in a way that integrates science and conservation objectives. Cindy is currently planning strategic plant conservation initiatives for GWC.

  • Karen B. Strier

    Dr. Karen B. Strier is Vilas Research Professor and Irven DeVore Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an international authority on the endangered northern muriqui monkey, which she has been studying in the Brazilian Atlantic forest since 1982. Her pioneering, long-term field research has been critical to conservation efforts on behalf of this species, and has been influential in broadening comparative perspectives on primate behavioral and ecological diversity.

  • Gautam S. Surya

    Gautam S. Surya was born in the United States and grew up in India, before returning to the United States for college. He completed a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and biology at Tufts University in 2011, and is currently working on a Ph.D. in the Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour Department at the University of Texas. His major interest is birds; he has worked for three field seasons in Northeast India, attempting to catalogue and map the avian biodiversity there, and hopes to do so for many more years to come.

  • Therese Tepe

    Therese Tepe, formerly GWC’s conservation partnerships officer, manages U.S. government-funded biodiversity, forestry, and climate change projects in Southeast Asia and West Africa from Washington D.C. She works closely with both international and in-country partners when implementing these conservation projects. Previously, she had been based in Malaysia working on tiger conservation throughout Asia.

  • Andrew Tilker

    Andrew Tilker is a biologist interested in ecology and conservation in tropical ecosystems. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University, a Master’s from the University of Texas, and is currently a doctoral student at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

  • Tracey D. Tuberville

    Dr. Tracey D. Tuberville is an assistant research scientist at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, near Aiken, South Carolina. Tracey’s research interests are in applied conservation and management research for reptiles and amphibians, including translocation and reintroduction as conservation tools, use of microsatellite markers to understand population ecology and individual behavior, and ecotoxicology.

  • Lina M. Valencia

    Lina Valencia is originally from Colombia, where she lived for 25 years before moving to the United States to start her PhD. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in understanding how land use changes influence movement and dispersal patterns in primates to assist decision-making for conservation management of endangered species in Colombia. Lina’s current research focuses on using genomic tools and GIS to investigate how cattle ranching influences the dispersal of Silvery-brown Tamarin, an endemic/endangered primate from Colombia in order to design effective habitat corridors.

  • Peter Paul van Dijk

    Dr. Peter Paul van Dijk is focused on the conservation of tortoises and freshwater turtles, by facilitating and conducting natural history research, trade monitoring and analysis, and policy work, in partnership with like-minded individuals, organizations and institutions. With professional roots in tropical Asia, he has over time widened his scope and now works worldwide to identify and implement priority actions. Peter Paul works through a number of positions including his primary role as field conservation programs director at The Turtle Conservancy, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, and affiliations with Conservation International and Global Wildlife Conservation.

  • Carlos Roberto Vásquez Almazán

    Carlos Roberto Vásquez Almazán is a Guatemalan biologist who works as the curator of herpetology for the Museum of Natural History at the National University of San Carlos’s in Guatemala.